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Biofactors. 2004;20(2):85-96.

Manganese alters mitochodrial integrity in the hearts of swine marginally deficient in magnesium.

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Department of Animal and Range Science, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105, USA.


It was previously reported that pigs marginally deficient in magnesium (Mg) and fed diets high in manganese (Mn) died suddenly with signs of sudden cardiac death. Manganese, which has properties similar to Mg, may exacerbate Mg-deficiency and be accumulated by mitochondria resulting in ultrastructural damage. The objective of this study was to determine whether deaths of the type previously observed were mediated by adverse interactions of Mn and Mg resulting in ultrastructural damage to the myocardium, alterations in electrocardiographic recordings and tissue retention of Mn, Mg and calcium (Ca). Forty-eight pigs were fed one of six diets in a 2 X 3 factorial arrangement of Mg (100 or 1000 mg Mg/kg) and Mn (5, 50 or 500 mg Mn/kg) for 8 weeks. Left ventricle muscle samples were collected for examination by transmission electron microscopy. No differences in heart muscle ultrastructure were observed between pigs fed low and adequate dietary Mg. However, marked myocardial necrosis and mitochondrial swelling were observed in pigs fed high dietary Mn when combined with low Mg. Feeding low dietary Mg elevated minimum (P < 0.01), maximum (P < 0.05) and average (P < 0.001) heart rates. Low dietary Mg resulted in a 55% probability of a ventricular beat being recorded (P = 0.05) and lower Mg (P < 0.02) and Ca (P < 0.04) contents in heart atria and ventricles. These results suggest that high Mn, when fed in combination with low Mg, disrupts mitochondrial ultrastructure and is associated with the sudden deaths previously reported.

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